[Avery Andrews 930416.0930]
(Bill Powers (930415.0745 MDT))
>Have you ever known anyone in a philosophical argument to goggle
>at you and say "My gosh, you're right, you've completely
>destroyed my argument?"
No. In professional philosophy, the aim is not to actually persuade
anybody that you're right (this hardly ever happens), but to demonstrate
that you can do a respectable job of defending your position and
attacking others. Think of it as like designing protein coats to
get the virus past the cell-wall. It's also a bit like borrowing
money from a bank--you don't have to persuade them that your absolutely
the best choice for lending their money to, just that you're good enough
so that you're not very likely to blow it.
>>But maybe F & T are the best target.
>Where do you think we would find a journal with referees who
>would not take such an attack as prima facie evidence that the
>authors are ignorant of the latest developments in the field?
Right now I'm thinking Synthese. And we make sure aren't ignorant by
pursuing Kugler, Fowler & Turvey through the most recent Science
Citations. B.t.w., I'm still wishing that someone with the right kind
of math backround would spend some time with the 1987 Kugler * Turvey
book (Self-Assembly of Rhythmic Systems). I have formed the opinion
that what they're on a bit is looking for and seeming to find
phenomena that fit their preconceptions of what a good explanatory story
looks like, rather than taking on prima facie interesting questions such
as how we manage to make and eat breakfast, but too much is going on in
the book that I am too ignorant about for this opinion to be